Start with...

On most Fridays for the past few summers, a jazz quartet played on the patio at the Canandaigua Wegmans.  Because it's a beautifully inspiring setting, I would go and take my journal to see what words wanted to be born.  This came out, pretty much as printed below, one evening in August 2012.  I offer it as a gift to any creative spirit looking for inspiration.

Start With

Start with bits of bread flicked to the birds.
Start with a nine-string bass and the heart behind it.
Start with 31 days after her 26th birthday.
Start with a drawing of the plate and what foods will go where.
Start with tastes of red and decide on white anyway.
Start with dreams of the ocean and end up in a cottage at the lake.
Start with a wheelchair underwater propelled past schools of orange fish.
Start with a 23-inch waist.
Start with three broken noses he does/doesn’t want to explain.
Start with an invitation to play All Blues.
Start with a bulldog panting in the car.
Start with olives, a crusty bread, soft cheese at sunset.
Start with attentive listeners, a girl in a chignon.
Start with a stack of journals, next to a bonfire.
Start with train doors closing on your one true love who has your passport.
Start with vegetables, skewers, and marimba music.
Start with a man wearing socks pulled halfway to shorts.
Start with two kayaks, sunrise, and a dog left behind on the shore.
Start with cloud-colored linen pants, shades of the ocean shirts.
Start with pink toenail polish, chipped.
Start with a playground slide in the rain, wet sand at the landing.
Start with halfhearted applause.
Start with large goblets filled to the horizon line.
Start with the drummer’s spastic solo.
Start with sun glinting off water, blinding.
Start with white cotton curtains, billowing.
Start with a cat, eyes closed, inside a cage.
Start with a wobbly table, coffee splashing into saucers.
Start with hunger, an aversion to flesh.
Start with a song you know by heart.
Start with the wall of chlorine you hit in the locker room.
Start with the stranger’s eyes every time your glance sweeps his table.
Start with crickets, a tent in the yard, cold feet.
Start with missing your father, jitterbug music on the radio.
Start with singing at the top of your lungs, legs pumping the swing.
Start with remembering the smoothness of his skin and how long it’s been.
Start with music swelling, credits rolling.
Start with a swan dive into a forward bend.
Start with an old woman, a rolled up newspaper and a fly.
Start with dusk, grass, damp shorts.
Start with getting locked out, naked.
Start with not knowing the secret handshake.
Start with a few drops left in the bottle.
Start with dentures soaking next to the bed.
Start with coconut oil melting at body temperature.
Start with an empty gas tank in Wyoming at night.
Start with jazz musicians laughing, “Yiiiiiiiiii!”
Start with the folded bills in a blind woman’s wallet.
Start with a chocolate éclair, slightly sweating on a hot day.
Start with a mint toothpick, cognac, the ship’s deck in the moonlight.
Start with a jacket wadded up in your father’s canned goods cabinet.
Start with someone a year dead.
Start with the corner bar, an hour past closing.
Start with fireflies in a jar, the wind picking up.
Start with headlights running the perimeter of the dark room.
Start with bubble bath turning the suds pink.
Start with a Dorothy Hamill cut, an 80-year-old Swede.
Start with a persistent cough.
Start with a ceiling fan pressing its hot breath down your neck.
Start with windows rolled up to hold the speaker at the drive-in.
Start with lights flashing in the rear-view mirror, everyone else asleep.
Start with an empty marriage and a half-eaten package of pinwheel cookies.
Start with voices floating across the lawn.
Start with a membrane of light, penetrated.
Start with buckets of ice thrown over the fence.
Start with quicksand, the whites of a tiger’s eyes.
Start with a battery running low.
Start with a seven-year-old girl up a tree, a rooster below.
Start with flip-flops slapping down the stairs.
Start with “Start with….”


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